We know winter is inevitable and November offers us time to prepare. It’s the month that gets us all geared up for the holidays. We transition from light jackets to our favourite cozy puffers with the crisp cool air. Take advantage of the weather before we head into the deep freeze to get out and explore!
Here are a few great things to do this November in Toronto!
Housewarming by Karine Giboulo at the Gardiner Museum: on now until May 7. The exhibition takes the form of a large-scale, immersive reimagining of the artist’s home, populated by more than 500 miniature polymer clay figures. A response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition is a sculpted documentary of individual and collective experiences grounded in current events. The colourful dioramas furnishing each room prompt reflection about the challenges we face as a society, including connectedness and isolation, aging and care, labour and consumerism, the climate crisis, food insecurity, and housing instability. Karine Giboulo is a self-taught, Montreal-based artist who over the past twenty years has gained recognition for her miniature dioramas. Always direct and incisive, Giboulo’s microcosms articulate unexpected juxtapositions—playful and sad, realistic and absurd, poetic and political—prompting a range of emotions from delight to profound empathy.
Afghanistan with Love at the Aga Khan Museum: on now until April 10. A one-of-a-kind exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum will bring to light new perspectives on Afghanistan – driven by the creativity and resilience of its people. Afghanistan My Love will share messages of determination, empathy, and kindness by bringing together inspiring and thought-provoking murals alongside contemporary artworks and textiles woven in Afghanistan. The exhibition, curated by Special Projects Curator Marianne Fenton, will consist of two parts. First, visitors will discover murals and artwork created by ArtLords, a global grassroots movement that promotes messages of peace in Afghanistan through street art, theatre, and community outreach. In addition to exploring captivating artwork transferred from Kabul, guests will have an opportunity to participate in painting a mural designed by ArtLords on select dates throughout the exhibition run. The second part of the exhibition will feature unique work from Afghan-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, Shaheer Zazai. On display will be a collection of digitally created images as well as carpets conceptualized and rendered by Zazai in Microsoft Word and then woven in Afghanistan by a group of local women.
Mean Girls: Princess of Wales Theatre until November 27. You may have seen the movie, now bring your BFFs for this fun night out! It’s a jungle out there…in high school especially when you’re the new kid in town. The hilarious big energy hit musical from an award-winning creative team, including book writer Tina Fey (30 Rock), composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon), and producer/proud Torontonian Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live). Pssst….a little secret, check for same-day rush seats!
Musical Stage Company’s ABBA Uncovered: November 8 to 10. This annual concert reimagines the catalogue of one of the world’s most beloved bands through the lens of musical theatre storytelling. It’s also the 50th anniversary of ABBAs founding this year. The Swedish band also claimed the first ever winning spot in the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” which in 2005 was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history as part of the 5oth anniversary celebration of this contest. Also, Mamma Mia! (the musical) remains in the top ten longest running productions on Broadway (it closed in 2015) and in London’s West End where it continues to run.
INLAND at Bayview Village:November 2 to December 27. Discover and support Canadian designers in this two-month concept shop. With over 50 rotating Canadian fashion, jewelry, and accessory designers. Line up includes Anne Dahl, Azure Lazuli, Biddell, Diane Kroe, Encircled, Kate Austin, Modern Sunday, OOOBABY, This is Willow, And Raina, and many more.
Celebrating Viola Desmond’s Legacy: TIFF Bell Lightbox, November 8.
TIFF together with Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue & Vintage Black Canada invites audiences to celebrate Viola Desmond’s legacy on November 8 and pay tribute to her sister Wanda Robson with an evening of special programming at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
To commemorate the 76th anniversary of Viola Desmond’s historic stand against racial segregation and injustice in Canada, TIFF, alongside programming parters Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue (BAND) and Vintage Black Canada, are welcoming audiences to a celebration of Desmond on November 8. In addition, a special tribute will be made in honour of her younger sister, Wanda Robson, and the sisters’ contributions to social justice and human rights in Canada and beyond. An activist in her own right, Robson raised public awareness for Desmond’s civil rights legacy in Canada.
Viola Desmond Day programming:
Art activations (November 8 to 27)from Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue (BAND) and Vintage Black Canada; a screening of Kelly Fyffe-Marshall’s debut feature, When Morning Comes (which premiered at TIFF 2022) about a young Jamaican boy grappling with his widowed mother’s decision to relocate to Canada. In addition, there will be a panel discussion with Joan Jenkinson, Black Screen Office; Ella Cooper, Black Women Film! Canada; Alison Duke, OYA Black Arts Coalition; and Ngardy Conteh George, OYA Black Arts Coalition.
Reel Asian Film Festival: November 9 to 20. Canada’s premier pan-Asian festival, has an incredible line up. The 2022 programming lineup including its Opening and Closing Night Galas from Canadian filmmaker Anthony Shim, Riceboy Sleeps (this year’s TIFF Platform Prize winner) and closing with Topline, created by this year’s Canadian Spotlight Artist, Romeo Candido, with a live musical accompaniment. This year’s lineup consists of 77 films from regions including Canada, the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Australia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. This year’s Festival will welcome audiences back to more in-person programming while continuing to offer digital programming to a wider audience across the country. For the full programming lineup and ticket information visit reelasian.com.
That Choir Remembers: St. Anne’s Anglican Church (270 Gladstone Ave) November 11 and 12. Led by Craig Pike (yes, that the cookie guy) this community based 16-member choral music group connects in a shared space with an incredible concert line up. The performance will offer a new, provocative and moving night of music. Tickets available here.
A Queen’s Ball: Bridgerton Experience: 8 Unwin Ave, (Port Lands area). Fans of the Netflix series will surely delight in this enchanting experience. Step through the Wisteria-lined path and into Queen Charlotte’s Ballroom for a fun filled night of entertainment. Musical and dance performers delight. Be prepared to dance – but don’t worry, quick lessons provided! And yes, the Queen is searching for this season’s Diamond! Creativity will catch her eye! As you explore the space find costumes from the Bridgerton series on display. Make sure your phone battery is topped up as there are several sets created for the best photo opps! Guests are encouraged to dress the part – there are handy tips on their site if you need ideas. Make haste! Tickets available here.
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: November 4 to 13. The largest combined indoor agriculture fair and international equestrian competition in the world celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. It is where Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors are declared champions and where hundreds of thousands of attendees come to learn, compete, and of course, shop.
Conquer Your Comfort Zone: Woodbine Beach, November 6. Lake Ontario’s largest cold dip event on Sunday, November 6th at Woodbine Beach in Toronto. Facilitated by some of the world’s leading cold exposure guides, participate in a practice proven to reduce stress, boost immune response, increase alertness and strengthen your mindset – plus more abundant health benefits, alongside HUNDREDS of Torontonians. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a veteran to cold therapy, the community cold plunge will have you feeling the benefits beyond the day and ready to conquer your fears, pain, and beyond – entering winter feeling stronger than ever before. Join Othership, Unbounded, CITY SHRED and Jaybird Studio for the FREE EVENT – and get ready to challenge your mental strength, demonstrate fortitude and step into a place of resilience through an EPIC and unforgettable experience. To register and for more info visit the official eventbrite page here.
Canadian Tire Christmas Trail: November 12 to December 23, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway. In celebration of Canadian Tire’s 100th birthday, The Canadian Tire Christmas Trail is back to make this the Christmas of the century. The drive-along experience takes guests on an enchanted 1.5-kilometre journey through thousands of twinkling lights, interactive displays, and live entertainment featuring new and familiar faces. Guests will be immersed in the magic of Christmas and can capture their beloved annual photo with Santa in a memorable way, all from the comfort of their own vehicle. $25 per car (all proceeds donated to Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to benefit child and youth sport throughout Canada) Tickets go on sale November 6 at 12 pm noon! And new tickets will be released bi-weekly on Sundays at noon. More info available here.
MADDADDAM The National Ballet of Canada: November 23 to 30. Wayne McGregor, the multi-award-winning choreographer of Chroma and Genus, has joined forces with one of the world’s greatest living writers, Margaret Atwood, to create a thrilling new ballet triptych for The National Ballet of Canada. MADDADDAM is based on Atwood’s acclaimed novel trilogy, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam, and features original music from the ground-breaking contemporary composer Max Richter. Themes of extinction and invention, hubris and humanity are spliced together with aspects of Atwood’s activism and her deep connection to the Canadian landscape, past and present.
One of a Kind Winter Show: Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, November 24 to December 5. Get the most thoughtful and artisanal gifts checked off your holiday list here. Discover something for everyone at every price point– foodies, kids, neighbours, teachers, host gifts, secret Santas, besties, moms, dads…you get the picture. Beautiful works that are always appreciated. Be sure to spend time exploring this massive show. Wear comfortable shoes and bring extra shopping totes to lug it all home.
The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff: Harbourfront Centre Theatre, November 16 to 27. Marking its North American debut in Toronto, the show features songs from the original album by The Young’uns, stunning animation and the audio memoir excerpts to tell the real-life story of freedom fighter Johnny Longstaff, who went from living in poverty to taking part in some of the momentous events of the 1930s. This show is worth checking out – ESPECIALLY for fans of Come From Away!
The Distillery Winter Village Opening and Tree Lighting Ceremony: November 17 and onwards. The Distillery Winter Village returns in person with Toronto’s most magical holiday shopping and dining experience. Beginning with the official grand opening taking place on Thursday, November 17 at 6:00 pm when Santa flips the switch on the 50-foot-tall gorgeous White Spruce Christmas Tree in Trinity Square.Designed by Parfums Christian Dior, this year’s tree will be decorated with 400 custom midnight blue ornaments, 1,700 shiny and matte gold balls, and 70,000 twinkling lights. It is estimated over 500 hours of labour will go into creating this sparkling masterpiece. The tree will also feature 1,000 custom Dior star charms.
Tickets are not required for opening night; however, following that, tickets are required on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after 4:00 pm, and December 27-31 after 4:00 pm. Tickets are $11 plus HST each. Kids nine and under are free of charge. The Distillery Historic District shops, restaurants and cafés, are open starting at 10:00 am daily, every day, except Christmas Day. To purchase tickets, event hours and more information, visit their site.
Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic: Yorkville Park. November 26, 5pm to 7 pm. Chantal Kreviazuk celebrate the holiday season with Holiday Magic, a free outdoor concert and lighting ceremony taking place on Cumberland Street and the Village of Yorkville Park, hosted by Etalk host and Canada’s Drag Race judge Traci Melchor. Returning for the 2022 season, Holiday Magic is a community celebration that will feature an exciting live performance from Chantal Kreviazuk and the annual “Flick the Switch” Lighting Ceremony with the event in support of the Canadian Foundation for Aids Research (CANFAR).
WANT TO GET OUT OF THE CITY?
Firelight Lantern Festival at The Crystal Palace, Prince Edward County: November 4 & 5. The Department of Illumination present the 10th annual Festival. This year, for the first time, the festival has expanded to two magical evenings of arts and music with the theme The Enchanted Forest. Known for its epic illuminated art installations in the beautiful Crystal Palace, this year lead artists Nella Casson, Krista Dalby, Chrissy Poitras, Tim Snyder and Kyle Topping will be responding to the year’s ‘The Enchanted Forest’ theme and animate the site with giant lantern puppets. On Friday, the Firelight Lantern Festival will be a 19+ evening featuring Kingston’s unique and experimental folkestra The Gertrudes amongst food, drink, dancing, art installations and interactive performances. Saturday sees the return of the Firelight Lantern Festival’s beloved Lantern Parade in an all-ages event starting in Benson Park. The parade will make its way down Main Street to the Crystal Palace, where Toronto’s hip-hop brass band Bangerz Brass will take the mainstage. Both evenings will be filled with an eclectic array of performances from multiformat puppet masters Imagicario, shadow puppetry by Birdbone Theatre, plus Peterborough circus performers, and festival favourites, Trellis Arts. There will also be a DJ and guests are invited to dress in wild and wonderful costumes should they wish.
The Department of Illumination invites their audiences to play an active role in the lantern festival by taking part in their community lantern-making workshops, running October 21-30, 2022. These will be held in the Department of Illumination studio in the lower level of The Armoury in Picton. Attendees are provided with all the materials and instruction necessary to make a lantern for just $10 per lantern.
KNIX Virtual Warehouse Sale returns on November 4 to 7. Enjoy up to 60% site wide and 15% off almost everything else (some exclusions apply). Great time to stock up on those favourite undies, shape wear, activewear and more. Not sure if these Birds Papaya x Knix leggings will be on sale but they are definitely worth grabbing a pair or two! We are obsessed! Check their social media pages for updates.
Holiday Styling Tips with Kate Bellman, Nordstrom Fashion Editor: November 18/December 16 (online): We’ve all been home for the holidays these past few years and now that we’re on the heels of the festive party season it may be time to refresh our closet! Discover the style stories you need this season. Tune in to discover her holiday dressing tips and which winter essentials are at the top of her list. Free online but reservation required.
Disney Animation: Immersive Experience: Opens December 21. 1 Yonge Street. Step inside the greatest films of Walt Disney Animation Studios, from their very earliest, groundbreaking features to the beloved hit movies of today. Imagine stepping into the Casita with Mirabel from Encanto, being at Pride Rock as Rafiki presents Simba – surrounded by the animal kingdom as the sun rises. Imagine hopping on a train with Judy Hopps and going into Zootopia or taking a magic carpet ride with Aladdin and Jasmine. Step into the art and legacy of Walt Disney Animation Studios and celebrate the music, artistry and animation from the creators of Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Big Hero 6 and many more. Tickets are on sale now.
Ross Petty’s Peter’s Final Flight: Elgin Theatre, December 2 to January 7. This is it! Ross Petty Productions has announced that it will end the 25 year run of his family holiday show in Toronto this year. What’s become a holiday tradition for many, we know it will surely be missed. Like each season, the production company brings a familiar classic storybook tale and turns it into a modern day fun filled theatrical extravaganza. Guaranteed to fill your belly with lots of laughs and even the squirmiest of kids are welcomed to dance and sing along. We’re gonna miss them, especially Plumbum. Tickets are already on sale. Run!
*Lead in photo: Karine Giboulo, Food Bank, 2021. Photo: Mike Patten. Courtesy of the Gardiner Museum, Toronto.